Monday, September 28, 2009

Current Web Readings

Curriculum Pilgrims Progress
A free 12 week curriculum.

A Godly Grief
VERY well written article on grief.

Simple and Deliberate
This blog is one woman and her amazing journey through widowhood. I went all the way back to her husband's illness (Nov 2007) and have read through his death and her grief. It is pretty neat to see that she was here in CO meeting with the Chappa's (as they are new friends of ours). I can only bear to read a few posts at a time. I am currently in June 2008. I can only pray that when tragedy strikes me or my family, I have the faith and strength of this precious woman of God.

Lapbooking Templates

Homeschool Year Begun
Scroll down to the bottom of this post (on one of my fav blogs) for a GREAT idea for helping your child with phonics!!

Scripture Songs
It is rare to find songs put to Scripture that are not lame. These songs are BEAUTIFUL! And most wonderful of all, they are free!! This video is a sample of his music:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

PLEASE pray for Chris Klicka (HSLDA)

Updates on Chris Klicka

Prayer Shawl

Prayer Shawl
Originally uploaded by lvg4him
My FIL got cancer over ten years ago now. It is amazing to think he was only given 6 months to live. He went through radiation, or chemo ... one of the two. And he was constantly cold. I wish I had know about prayer shawls back then. Of course, I did not even know how to crochet then! :D

A prayer shawl is a shawl that is either knitted or crocheted with a certain person in mind. With each stitch, every time you work on the shawl, you are praying for that person. It could be a recent widow, a mother whose child is dying in the hospital, a recent graduate off to college, or, as in this cute pink and white shawl, for a friend dying of cancer.

I will admit that I started out making this shawl for myself. I was so excited to finally have a shawl that I was going to keep. But as I was making this shawl (and the pattern is for a prayer shawl), God kept bringing a certain friend to mind.

And this shawl is SO HER! very pink and cream and Victorian all over. So as I continued to work, this shawl became hers. I cannot wait to present it to her. And it will all be done in secret! (Thankfully she does not read my blog!)

My daughters cannot understand that quite yet. That when we do something good, that we need to not tell our left hand what our right hand is doing. I am constantly reminding them that there are two types of rewards. One is instant and brings glory to ourselves. It is an earthly reward. The other takes much longer to receive. It brings glory only to God. It is a heavenly reward. I then ask them to consider which reward they want to work towards. Of course they also hang their hand and say "a heavenly one." I have to laugh and tell them that God wants a CHEERFUL giver. Better for them not to give at all if they are going to sulk about it.

But over time, they are learning. It is a hard lesson. And even harder to constantly do. Even Momma likes her earthly praise sometimes. :D

Lion Brand has Ready Made Cards that you can send with your shawl.

I will be including a bookmark (she is an avid reader), which explains what a prayer shawl is and let her know that she is being prayed for. I have included a link here to the bookmark.

All I ask is that you PLEASE do NOT sell the bookmark or distribute it. Please share the link that they can download it from this site. Thank you. You have permission to print it out for personal use (like attaching to prayer shawls).

Click here to goto the image, and for instructions on how to download it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Amazing Video

YOU HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO watch this video!! It is a big slow in the beginning, but you need to read the text to understand why this video is so amazing:

HT: Monica, who has one of the most beautiful blogs out there with such wonderful ideas and encouragement. PLEASE stop by her blog and give her some love!!! Starting in October, she is going to do her Crafty Christmas posts again! YIPPEE!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Movie: Uncle Nino

We watched Uncle Nino for our pizza movie night and my girls LOVED it. They loved the family message it had. I will warn you, this does have a teen boy smoking in it. But he does stop because he realizes it can kill you. This is a good movie, but not a great one. But I agree with my kids that it did have a great family message.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Catching Up With Projects

So I have been catching up trying to take pictures of projects I have done and posting them to Ravelry. If you have not joined, if you knit or crochet, you NEED to join. It is FREE and WONDERFUL!!! :D :D :D

I LOVE this picture of AA!! It was REALLY cold outside (cold enough to SNOW) and I grabbed my camera and the cowl and asked AA to go outside and pose for a picture for me. She happily obliged and was freezing! She looks so beautiful in this picture - mostly because her inner beauty just SHINES forth in it.

Here is a picture of the HeadKerchief that I made. Still outside and STILL COLD. My beautiful daughter poses for another picture.

I also made a Wintry Cowl for EE. The plan was to make something that took up little space so that it could be kept in the car so that when cold weather hits (as it does sometimes out of no where here in CO), we could run to the car to get them instead of into a store to buy earmuffs!

I also had FINALLY made a shawl for ME. I love the Seraphina so much I have made five of them. I must admit that I passed over it the first time I saw it (I had searched for "butterfly shawl" because MM was wanting one). But the pictures I saw of it looked so gothic. NOT for us.

Then I found Ravelry and had my daughter AA look through the shawls (as I planned on making her one for her birthday). And of course she picked it. While before it had looked gothic, now on Ravelry, seeing all the other colors, I could see how beautiful it was. STILL I was skeptical.

Then I read the reviews (there is a group on Ravelry dedicated JUST to this shawl it is so popular - and once I made one I realized WHY!) and saw that one of the biggest draws to making this shawl was that it hung so beautifully on the body! It did not need a pin to stay up like most other shawls. That is due to the shape it is - not a regular triangle.

But alas, this one being mine was not to be for long. :) It got passed down to AA who outgrew the first one I made her. This one is big enough to wrap around her and keep her WARM for a LONG time! She loves it and wears it often.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Little Miss MM


I finally finished the Cupcake Cradle Purse for MM.

I had seen a cradle purse (not even knowing what it was) at the local farmer's market a couple years ago. With the WONDERFUL gift of Ravelry, I was able to not only discover what it was called, but find several FREE patterns and variations. This one has been in My Ravelry Queue for quite some time to make for ONE of my girls (of course with MM being a little pinky girl, I was almost certain this would be her's).

And for those of you who remember the pillowcase nightgowns I made all my girls (THANK YOU AGAIN Rebecca!!!), yes that IS the SAME gown I made for MM. It is quite a bit shorter on her now (it comes to her knees instead of her ankles), but she still loves and treasures it (she even told me that I cannot sell it when she outgrows it because she wants to keep it to give to her daughters). :D

Of course she had to put her puppy in it instead of a doll! LOL!!

Current Web Readings

Constitution Lapbook


Judy Rodgers
She has some awesome songs! So thankful to my friend Brenda for introducing us to her!

Music to the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Classical Free

The Role of Scripture in Education
Many of you know my love for Webster's 1828 dictionary. This is a really good read (and short too!)

Homemade Laundry Detergent, Charlie's and Soap Nuts
A GREAT comparison between all three!! A MUST read for those who care about their health and are avoiding SLS.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cutting The Budget

If any of you are like me (and you prolly are in some way or you wouldn't be reading this blog), you are frugal minded. Creating a budget is hard, but once you realize the FREEDOM that it brings, you create one and stick to it.

All of us have heard the "go over your budget and see what you can cut." But if you are like me, you have already done that. Time and time again, until you really can NOT cut ANY MORE out.

But here is an interesting twist from Frugal Hacks today.

Instead of looking over your budget looking for what you can cut, create a whole new budget using only HALF of the income! Not that you have to live on that, at least not right now. But in this economy, it is good to be prepared. How much better to have a budget prepared for that time, God forbid. And not only that, maybe you see you CAN do away with other things in the budget. Imagine that it all works out and you are able to put HALF of the income into emergency fund, or ROTH IRA (remember wives can have one too!), or better yet in a 401K that is matched!

I am taking the challenge. Who knows?!?! Maybe there is something there that can get us more money to set aside for retirement? :D

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gold Panning

We had a most wonderful opportunity to go gold panning with a good friend of ours. I LOVE homeschooling!! While we were there, we got to hear some history of the creek from a lady whose grandfather actually panned there!! IT was a BLAST and I and the family cannot WAIT to go again!!! Thank you "expert" for allowing us to tag along!

In the parking lot, the girls waiting for the 4 wheel drive car to come and get us.
Mini-vans might die on the way down. LOL!

JJ pointing to where we are going.
'Ders gold in 'dem 'dere hills!!!


Almost the whole gang. Believe it or not there are only three families here (mine included) and they are not even ALL in the picture!

MM really was a fast learner. I was really surprised at how quickly she took to panning! She really enjoyed herself and was always asking "the expert" if there was gold in her pan. She also REALLY liked helping the expert with her sloosh (sp?).

AA really surprised me. She got bit by gold fever! LOL!! She panned and panned and would have panned longer (we left here at 6:30AM, got there about 10, left about 4 or 5 and got home around 10PM). She really got the hang of it and TRULY enjoyed herself.

Up close of AA panning. And YES, there is gold in there. She actually found a good amount (maybe $2 worth)!! :D

AA with our friend, "the expert." AA was almost always by her side, learning, asking questions (mostly "is there gold in here?"). :D

I must admit that this surprised me the most. JJ grabbed a pan and actually tried panning! He was copying the movements of someone near by. When that pan swirled, JJ swirled his pan. When that pan went back and forth; JJ moved his pan back and forth. It was WAY cute!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chosing Thomas

An incredible story of God's love. It amazes me that people think that abortion is any less painful or scary to a child. At least this child got to know the love of his parents, the kiss of warm lips, the sound of a father's voice loving him....

You have to watch this video.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daily Life and Death

Today is my Aunt's memorial service and lunch. She died VERY unexpectedly. My Uncle went out to get the paper and when he came back, she was dead. An autopsy (to determine cause of death) reported that her body just gave out.

My Uncle barely escaped Tower 2 right before it collapsed. I have called my Aunt and Uncle every year since Sept 11 on Sept 11. And it was not until her death that I learned that Sept 11 was also memorable because that was their wedding anniversary. They would have been married 38 years tomorrow.

I used to make family videos every year and send them to family. I stopped after 2005 because my MIL made a comment about this AWESOME thing (going on and on about it) that April discovered in 2006. I commented that if she had watched the movie I made, she would have seen all the girls doing that very thing. Knowing that no one but us were watching the videos made me very sad. I put a lot of work and effort into making those videos.

Well, come to find out how special those were to my Aunt. She seemed to know she was going to die soon, and spent the last few months of her life watching those videos I sent over and over again. OH if I had only known! The things you find out AFTER a person dies. :( I would have made more videos and sent her more pictures had I known how important to her they were.

So now, I am making videos again. I will be sending one to my Uncle this year instead of them both. But he will know how important that is ... to both of us.

Today I video taped the cute little way JJ waves (using his WHOLE arm, and how his little body shakes with him). I video taped the girls learning to spool knit FINALLY.

Now to learn to balance life between photography (I love taking pictures - you can't tell because it takes me so long to load them up I don't post very many) and video taping.

Please pray for me. Today is very hard. I loved my Aunt. While we were not very close growing up (mostly because my parents never kept in close contact), Sept 11, 2001 brought us close together. I called her, and that opened the door to a very short lived friendship. She told Uncle Frank I was her best friend. I miss her deeply. And I never knew how much those videos meant to her. I never knew.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Today we watched the movie SPELLBOUND. It is a documentary showing 8 kids and their journey to the National Spelling Bee. It was actually VERY good. And it was a total inspiration to my daughter (AA) to keep up with her spelling. She even wants to do "little mini spelling bees at the end of each spelling lesson." My daughter FINALLY has a desire to learn to spell, so we are going for it. We are using AVKO and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It teaches her AND leaves her wanting more. When you can find a program that leaves them wanting more, to me, that is a good thing!

(If you are going to use AVKO, I HIGHLY suggest watching the You Tube videos to see how he does it. It was helpful to me.)

We rented the DVD from the library, so you should check your library for SPELLBOUND. It was worth it for the encouragement it gave my daughter. Not to mention it shows a homeschooler at the spelling bee! "Three things I will tell people to help them. 1 - Trust in Jesus. Trust and believe in Jesus. 2 - Honor your parents. 3 - Hard work." While he did not win the spelling bee the year the documentary was made, he did go on to win the National Spelling Bee (at least once, possibly more, I will have to look).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Charlie Bit Me

WAY cute video. I LOVE how sweet the older brother is to the younger brother...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Current Web Readings

Do You Love Chinese Food?
Health recipes for Chinese food. YES!!

What a simple and yet wonderful idea to comfort a grieving family. A new widow was given a beeper, a prayer beeper, after her husband died. Every time someone prayed, they would call the beeper. What a comfort it was to know that thousands of prayers were being lifted up for her, for her 6 children.

Handbook of Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge Update For New Series Starting Sept 18
AWESOME site. I cannot wait for the new Series!

Go Fossil Hunting
I love the Staycation Blog!! I wish they updated way more often than they do. This idea was a GREAT one!!

2009 Graceful Envelope Contest
These are BEAUTIFUL!! What a fun thing to do next year!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just another reason we homeschool

Imagine the setting.

You have a picture of a rabbit, a chick, a puppy and a kitten. Which one does not belong and why?

Go ahead and answer before you read on. I will wait.

Did you say chick? My daughter did. And why did she answer chick? She literally had 11 reasons why chick was the answer. And ALL of them were correct. From the fact the chick only had two feet and the others had four to the fact that chick did not have a double letter in it and the others did.

However, the BOOK had a different answer.

I don't know about you, but growing up in the public school you were expected to do things a certain way. You could not just do the math, fast like in your head, you had to write it out... step by step. Partly so they would know you were not cheating and the other part because the teacher was not taught that there was another way and so YOU cannot do it any other way.

That was VERY frustrating to me. I wasn't cheating. I just KNEW answer. And I could do it faster in my head, finishing my homework much sooner, thus moving on to things I wanted to do, rather than HAD to do.

But no, if I had to spend hours writing the answers out, I was not going to do the homework. I guess I always did rebel, even back then! LOL!!

Now some might argue the importance of learning to comply and conform. OK, for those people, I ask the question - why? When, in real, every day life, do you need to conform? Not obey, that is different. We all need to learn to do what the boss tells us. But in a working environment (which is where they will all most likely be some day), they are told what is needed. Some requirements are given (sometimes) and other times, as long as the desired result is gotten, how they got there (as long as it is legal) does not matter.

I know that my husband actually gets bonuses when he thinks outside the box and does something in a way no one thought of before. MOST companies ENCOURAGE THAT.

So back to the question about the rabbit, chick, puppy and kitten. Did you pick the chick too?

Or were you like me and picked the rabbit because it was an adult and all the others were babies?

I have learned that sometimes the book has certain answers. That does not mean it is the only correct answer. I have learned to encourage my kids to think differently. After all, that is how most businesses are created! By people who thought differently! And when my daughter gets an answer that is different than what the book says the answer is... as long as hers is correct, I smile, give her a bit of praise for thinking of things in a different way. I tell her that her answer is absolutely correct. Then I mention the book has a different answer and encourage her to see if she can think of what answer the book might have. She usually gets that answer too, but it is fun for her to try to figure out what answer the book has rather than "the correct answer." Because usually her answer is just as correct.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama will address public school children Sept 8

So this is all over the internet!

My thoughts:

While there is the argument there is nothing wrong with the President "trying to inspire kids to get a good education." The Presidents speech will be "... two sets of plans, one for preK-grade 6 and the other for grades 7-12, written with some unfortunate educational gobbledygook... and some sloppy language." I am not sure how "gobbledygook" and "sloppy language" is inspiring. I consider it a poor example.

There is the argument that if it were a Republican doing the same thing, we would be nicer and say it was a good thing to help the President... I highly doubt that. Most of the people I know who are against this are not against children helping the President, but against the President's IDEALS. Democrat, Republican or monkey, if they stood for what Obama stands for, I would keep my kid out of school on the 8th. (Thankfully we homeschool, so I do not have to worry about it.)

If the President TRULY cared about education, then he would support homeschooling as an option. It is funny that everything he is encouraging public school kids to do, my children (as most homeschooled children) already do (or will do as they get older).

And why is he addressing CHILDREN? Especially in public school?!? They have no control to "take responsibility for their learning." (although mine do as homeschoolers - they are self directed and motivated learners, and I am learning from them all the time). How can a public school child say "I want to learn about aerodynamics" and the teacher fit it into her government led lesson plans? I have my degree in education - I know - the student has little to no say. He can choose to do a paper on something, and learn on their own, outside of the public school. That is about it. School is NOT like how you and I remember it.

But again, why is Obama addressing the children, who have no control? Should he not be addressing the principals, the teachers, the parents. People who are INVOLVED in the lives of the children and can actually help IMPLEMENT plans to encourage education. Go even further - have him address the sports stars and movie actors - people who are role models in the lives of these children. So they will see someone they look up to and admire showing the importance of education. While the President does have a very high status, again, Republican or Democrat, he is a very intangible thing to children.

It will be interesting to see what the President means by helping the President. And again, why are the children to be held to what they say they will do? My daughter wants to be a geologist, vet, mother and astronaut. Even in 10th grade, I was not sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I would be a police officer or an actress. Teaching had not even been an option. Children do not know what they want NOR do I think they understand the importance of the words they will be writing. I cannot imagine trying to hold my daughter to be all she wants to be right now. Nor could I imagine how miserable my life would be if I had been forced to be a police officer (like I wrote a paper on in high school - researching the pay and the job description and saying THIS is what I want to do).

Now don't go reading what I'm not saying. I am not saying that children will be FORCED to do what they say, but what exactly IS meant by holding them accountable? That is left to be seen.

I already believe that the President should NOT have the power to do this. Republican, Democrat or monkey, for someone to be speaking to my children without my permission and without me there is unacceptable. But then again, that is why we homeschool instead of sending our children away to a public school.

It is funny that the argument coming from non-homeschoolers is that Obama is trying to indoctrinate the children. That is what the public school does - whether anyone wants to believe it or not. When you send your child to a vehemently anti-Christian place for so many hours a day/per week/per year. They are getting more indoctrination in them from that than from you or from church. And people wonder why children are leaving the church. A public school child is 75-85% more likely to leave the faith when they goto college than a homeschooled child who is only 15-20% likely to leave the faith. You cannot over power the lessons learned for hours upon hours in the public school with the 2 hours the average person goes to church and the 15 minutes average a day a parent spends with their child.

OK, I just needed a place to vent and get these thoughts out. Feel free to comment. Feel free to disagree. Just please, be civil about it. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lessons Learned

I have spoken numerous times about how I do not like the idea of paying children for chores. When they get an allowance it will be because they are contributing to a part of this family. Well the time has come. This month, they are getting an allowance (and they will get an allowance for each month following). They will get $1 for each year old they are. And they will follow the Dave Ramsey style of having a save, spend, and give envelope. They will give 10%, save half, and can put the spend in the rest.

Now you might disagree with me on the saving half. But here is our thinking....

If we can get our children in the habit of SAVING now, while they are young, that is a GOOD THING. They will still have their spend money. AND by saving so much, they will see that they can actually get by on spending LESS than they think they need to. I think we get into a bad habit of consumerism as well as thinking everything costs so much money. By saving more and spending less, they will learn to seek other, less expensive ways (not cheap, we want quality here) to get things they want OR come to the realization that it was more of a want than a need and they can wait. Yeah.. waiting... it teaches them PATIENCE. It teaches them that it is ok to WAIT for something.

Giving can be to the church, to the missions (the Sunday School classes take up money for missions), or to whatever organization they wish (for now) - like Compassion, Gospel For Asia, etc.

As for the saving, that money will be taken and put into a savings account that is DO NOT TOUCH. It is like their emergency fund. Once they get older, we will be teaching them how to invest.

As for their spending, Brian and I have let our kids know how that money can be spent:
*Mommy and Daddy will no longer be buying toys and trinkets for them (Christmas and birthdays excluded). If they want to, they may buy it with their own money. If it is something that can benefit the entire family (like a great deal on a microscope or something like that), then Mommy and Daddy may consider buying it for the family.
*Mommy and Daddy will no longer buy underwear, socks or clothes for you if you lose them, stain them, or tear them. If you have outgrown the item, Mommy and Daddy will buy you replacements.
*Mommy and Daddy are not your maids. At 4:30 a bell will ring. At that time if you have not done your chores, I will put them up for auction. Chore will be assigned to the lowest bidder and YOU will pay them. (We listed out EVERYTHING it takes to run a home and keep it clean, then Mommy and Daddy said what we could do, the rest was up to the kids to help so that they are contributing to the caretaking of the home. Each child chose what they would do to help. It has been GREAT because I learned that there were some jobs that they did not like doing, while another sibling did, so they traded what had previously been assigned to them - now EVERY ONE is happy.). If at the end of the day, the job has not been done, you will pay Mommy or Daddy to do the job (and you do not get a say in what you pay us)
*After all THAT, spending money may be spent or saved up to buy something bigger (like the hermit crab AA wants).

AA and EE will keep ledgers (like a checkbook) of where their money is being spent. This is a GREAT way to teach graphing skills (not to mention other math skills and finance). :D